THE LAKE UNION boat ramp on Sunnyside Avenue North is tucked away between colorful houseboats and a wooden pier next to the Puget Sound Yacht Club. It’s only a few minutes’ walk northeast from Gas Works Park, but it’s easy to miss unless you wander off the nearby Burke-Gilman Trail.

On this sunny afternoon, I’m sitting here to sketch, attracted by the red-white-and-blue color scheme of that strangely-shaped houseboat to my left.

Soon, my attention shifts to the people coming to the boat launch with their own vessels.

A fellow pulls a trailer loaded with a simple rowboat. After launching it, a companion walking along the wooden pier gets on board, and they paddle off gently into the lake.

Two women arrive later. They carry their kayaks on little two-wheeled trolley carts. It’s the first time I’ve seen such devices. How practical!

A paddleboarder is right behind, and then another one, and so on.

It’s a scene that must repeat hundreds of times over the year, especially during the spring and summer months, when the water beckons all to come play.